Wendy Crompton‘s son William and his girlfriend Fiona were killed in an horrendous attack by another young man when William was just 18 years old. Wendy’s experiences of what followed are set out in this book which tells how, as a secondary victim of crime, she was treated in ways that ranged from unthinking insensitivity to downright prejudice and lack of respect. This and being kept out of ‘the loop’ left her anxious, stressed, mistrusting and suspicious of people.
This extended to the actions of certain police officers, paramedics and doctors, her ‘supporter’ from Victim Support (who took too much for granted and at one point went off to watch ‘a more interesting case’ in the court next door), the coroner’s officer who prevented her husband from kissing William goodbye, the detective who implied that her son was better off dead rather than alive and the funeral director who told her ‘You can’t afford flowers’.
The plight of Wendy Crompton and other secondary victims who have suffered comparable torment was the subject of a feature in the Daily Mirror on 4 December 2006 and Justice For William was eagerly awaited by a media critical of Government withdrawal of financial support for ‘lifeline’ conferences between people affected by some of the worst crimes in Britain, the critical importance of which is emphasised in the book.
Justice For William is a hard-hitting, challenging and at times raw account: a cautionary tale enhanced by new author Helen P Simpson’s vivid writing. Helen met Wendy through Helen’s work with the Reducing Burglary Initiative in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire after her curiosity was aroused by the words ‘NO CONTACT’ on Wendy’s case file. The story of their friendship is an object lesson for anyone coming into contact with secondary victims of homicide and other serious offences – as are the more enlightening illustrations of decent people who lent Wendy support.
‘Looks unflinchingly at a system that is at best thoughtless and at worst downright disrespectful. It’s essential reading for victims of crime and those who work with them’: Carol Anne Davis
‘I confess that I did not find the book comfortable reading and almost put it to one side after the first couple of chapters. I’m glad that I continued with it as it taught me to be even more understanding in relating to those who suffer. Both Wendy and Helen have made a valuable contribution to my understanding of the problems faced by the victims of crime and those who work with them. They are living proof of what I said earlier [in the Foreword]. Suffering need not destroy. Their book is a testimony to that fact’: Terry Waite CBE
‘I would recommend it to Government Ministers, Members of Parliament, Consultant Psychiatrists, Criminologists, Senior Police Officers, Prison Governors, Coroners, members of the legal profession, Crown Prosecution Service, Senior Judiciary, Magistracy, the Sentencing Advisory Council and Human Rights protagonists’: Michael Hughes, Internet Law Book Reviews, February 2007
Helen P Simpson is a community safety officer with Kirklees Safer Communities (a partnership between Kirklees Metropolitan Council, West Yorkshire Police Service, the National Probation Service, Victim Support and others) and is involved in the development and implementation of crime reduction strategies to lessen crime, disorder and the fear of crime. She first met Wendy Crompton, shortly after starting work with the Reducing Burglary Initiative (part of Victim Support) based at Huddersfield Police Station. They soon became firm friends and co-campaigners for better treatment of victims of homicide and serious crime.